Modern Jewellery Icons #10: The Campanelle Collection by Chantecler

To ring in the 10th edition of our Modern Jewellery Icons series, we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Campanelle bell design by Italian family jeweller Chantecler. With a strong historical link to World War II and the pursuit of peace, this handcrafted bell design has been worn by many to celebrate personal accomplishment and the joy of life. Let’s take a look at what makes the Chantecler Campanelle design so special…

The story of the Chantecler jewellery brand begins on the sunny island of Capri in Italy’s Bay of Naples. A place known for refreshing Limoncello and expertly hand-made leather goods, it only makes sense that such a creative and happy place would be the origin of a jewellery design that encapsulates hope, joy and celebration.

portraits of Salvatore Aprea and Pietro Capuano, founders of Chantecler

Founded by Pietro Capuano, heir to a family of Neapolitan jewellers, he was well known locally for his eccentric and irreverent personality, which gained him the nickname Chantecler after the rooster in Edmond Rostand’s novel. It was in 1950 when Pietro, along with his friend Salvatore Aprea, decided to open a jewellery shop on one of the vibrant streets in Capri, filled with colourful Neapolitan designs that quickly gained international fame among celebrities like Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman Rossellini, Mona von Bismarck and Marta Marzotto. Today, the Chantecler brand remains a family-run business, with Salvatore’s heirs - Gabriele, along with his wife Teresa and sisters Maria Elena and Costanza Aprea - running the show out of their new Milan headquarters. The production centre is in Valenza, an area known around the world for its manufacturing excellence.

The Origins of the Campanelle Collection

The story of the Campanelle design predates the opening of that first Chantecler boutique. It was in 1944, on the cusp of the end of the Second World War, during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visit to Capri that Pietro decided to create a lucky charm in the shape of a bell (campanella in Italian) made of bronze to gift the American President, to acknowledge the effort's made to end the War and to show his support and hopes for peace and good fortune.

Pietro Capuano and Jaqueline Kennedy

The inspiration came from the story of Capri legend San Michele, in which a young shepherd finds his lost sheep thanks to the tinkling of a bell given to him by Saint Michael. The front of the bell is engraved with an image of Saint Michael piercing a serpent with his sword, while on the back, two angels pour a cornucopia of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, symbolising the victory of good over evil. On the surrounding sides, the image of a sheep serves as a reminder of the legend of the shepherd. This single bronze bell became the foundation for the entire Campanelle collection, a series of rings, charms, pendants and earrings that take the original shape of that first bronze bell that Pietro created.

Campanella Bouganville charm in white gold, rose gold, pink sapphire and diamond by Chantecler

The Evolution of the Campanelle Collection

Campanelle pieces as they appear today were envisioned by Pietro’s business partner and friend Salvatore. He took the original simple shape known by locals and decided to craft it into a motif that would become emblematic of the Chantecler brand as well as bring this meaningful story to international attention. Originally, Campanelle pieces were created in the shape of a golden bell set with a single round brilliant diamond. Eventually, the design evolved to include more colour variations, such as coral and turquoise, two natural choices given the brand’s heritage.

Model wearing a selection of Chantecler Campanelle pieces alongside Campanelle charms in gold, white gold and diamond

Later, more precious versions of the design were created, implementing diamond, sapphire and ruby pavés onto the bells. These more luxurious versions took inspiration from Chantecler’s past celebrity clientele. The Jackie design is completely covered in diamond marquises – a simple geometric style that reflects the effortless ease of Jackie Onassis’ style and charm; the Hepburn design features an intricate pattern of pearls and diamonds, giving it that Holly Golightly Breakfast at Tiffany’s classic charm, and the Marta Marzotto is covered in red rubies and orange sapphires in homage to the fashion designers love of vivid colours.

After the perceived popularity of the fine jewellery models, 9k gold and silver Campanelle models were introduced for a greater level of versatility. With the desire to spread the bell’s message of hope and joy to as many people as possible. Lately, some of the newest additions have started to feature titanium, as part of Chantecler’s larger efforts in innovation. Among these, the most popular designs are a black titanium sea urchin or a Jellyfish Campanella pendant with multicoloured titanium tentacles paved in diamonds.

The 80th Anniversary

In honour of the design’s 80th anniversary, Chantecler has many surprises in store to launch the Campanelle designs into a new decade of creativity. And whilst the management team was tight-lipped on the subject, we managed to squeeze some exciting details out regarding the designs we can expect to see released in the coming months. First and foremost, the Campenelle will be injected with new forms of storytelling and thematic inspirations through a mosaic of shapes, colours and materials. Limited edition pieces will be released throughout the year that will bring to life the stories of icons who, through the decades, have left their mark on Chantecler history. Each design, through its materials, will tell a personal story of a celebrity’s own Chantecler design, told through precious stones and metals.

Models wearing a selection of Chantecler Campanelle charms in gold, enamel, hard stones and precious stones

Secondly, some of the most famous Campanelle designs will be revamped. One of its most popular designs, the Capriness, a bell dedicated to the original location of Chantecler, will be reinterpreted into a variety of gem and enamel colours and patterns that honour the ancestral roots of Chantecler. With Capri as its endless source of inspiration, the beautiful sea and sun that the island is most known for will be inspiring features. Along with the Capriness, a few of the Campanelle from the Et Voilà collection will be reinterpreted to include new and fun chromatic dimensions. Hand-cut resin, rock crystal, topaz and pink quartz are just a handful of the new colourful adventures that await these pieces to celebrate the 80 years of Chantecler’s historic creativity and passion.

Chantecler Campanella Capriness charm in gold, white gold, white enamel, ruby, sapphire and diamond

Last but not least, Chantecler will host a uniquely special event this month in its hometown of Capri. Details were kept under wraps, but we are sure to expect a lot of Capri lemons, Aperol Spritz and, most importantly, beautiful jewels.

The Future of the Campanelle Collection

After 80 years of honing expertise in a single shape, we are excited to see what new and exciting elements Chantecler will inject into the iconic Campanelle design. A symbol of hope, friendship and peace, this little bell has endless potential to create new shapes, patterns and colourways. With a love for Neapolitan history, Italy and elegance, the managing team are dreaming up new ways to bring glamour and sparkle to your jewellery box at this very moment!

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